With mixed reaction from local residents to the cell phone tower which seemingly appeared overnight in Sedgefield’s Cola Beach area, the Knysna Municipality was called to comment on whether or not the correct procedure had been followed and approvals given. Whilst some living in the area were delighted to see the mast go up, believing that it would surely bring improvement to the terrible cellphone reception in that neighbourhood, others felt that the structure was not appropriate, and questioned why no-one living in Cola / Myoli had been given the chance to object.
“This is insane, the middle of a conservancy and residential area!” said one resident.
According to the Municipality, permission for the tower had not been granted.  A statement from Acting Municipal Manager Bevan Elman reads as follows.

The Town Planning Department conducted a site inspection on Thursday, 14 November. Officials found an illegal free standing base telecommunication station. This type of structure is not permitted on a residential property without prior municipal approval.

“As proper procedures were not followed by the property owner, the neighbouring property owners were not consulted prior to the erection of this structure. “A notice informing the owner of this transgression has been drafted and will be sent to the property owner’s postal address. The owner has 30 days to take one of the three actions that are in accordance with Section 87 of the Knysna Municipality By-law on Municipal Land Use Planning (2016), which are as follows:

  • To remove the structure and any other appurtenances related therewith with immediate effect; or
  • To submit an application for the approval, subject to the payment of a contravention levy, of the mast in terms of the By-law within 30 days of the service of the compliance notice and to pay the contravention levy determined in accordance with Council policy within 30 days after approval; or
  • To object to the notice by submitting written representations to the Municipality within 30 days of receipt of the notice.

Furthermore, the property owner has been advised that the submission of an application cannot be construed as a guarantee that the application will be approved.”